Today, we’re going to be talking about breathing. Nose breathing in particular.
I recently finished a book by James Nestor titled “Breath”, and I want to share some of the insights I got from this book that’s really changed the way I look at breathing. And weight loss for that matter.
I encourage everyone to go read this book. In this Note I’m going to share some of my key takeaways.
James spent the last 10 years researching how we breathe. He suffered from chronic sinusitis, sleep apnea, and fatigue. He had tons of medical problems, and he cured it all by simply learning how to breathe.
When I read something like that, I’m interested.
Here’s some quick stats to get us started: 90% of kids have deformities in their mouths and noses, and at least 25% of adults have severe sleep apnea that needs to be treated. About three quarters of modern humans have a deviated septum clearly visible to the naked eye.
What James did with this book is he took it back to ancient man, which makes sense as he describes how we’ve evolved with our skulls. As our brains have gotten bigger, our sinuses and our mouths have become much smaller.
Most of us have become mouth breathers, instead of nose breathers.
With proper breathing techniques, the bones in your face can actually change shape to help you breathe better. For example, jaw development is prompted by chewing hard. So teaching yourself to breathe better can open nasal passageways.
Here’s a quote from the book that really resonated with me:
“No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or how strong you are. None of it matters if you aren’t breathing properly.”
I totally identify with this.
I’m a mouth breather at night. I wear a Breathe Right strip that helps open up my nose because I have a partially deviated septum.
My brother read this book, and actually was the person who recommended it to me. He was a mouth breather, and because of that he was a snorer.
On the advice of this book, he’s been taping his mouth shut at night to force him to breathe through his nose. This cured his snoring! He’s more energetic during the day and sleeps better at night.
Here’s a quick test to see if you’re able to breathe through your nose adequately. Take your first two fingers on each hand and use them to spread your nose. See if you breathe better through your nose when you’re spreading your nose.
The health of our nose is so important.
Learn to breathe through your nose. We were meant to breathe through our nose, not our mouths.
Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide
They say oxygen is life, and it is.
Carbon dioxide is the waste product of oxygen. You breathe oxygen in, and you breathe carbon dioxide out.
Carbon dioxide is a waste product, but it can be argued that it’s as or more important than oxygen. It’s actually a hormone, and it acts on every cell of the body.
Breathing through your nose helps keep carbon dioxide in your system so you won’t need as much oxygen.
In the book they studied free divers. These people can go down 300 feet in the ocean without anything, and hold their breath for 8-12 minutes.
They aren’t freaks. They’ve just trained themselves to breathe better. They have learned to retain and tolerate carbon dioxide.
You see, you can adapt yourself to learn how to breathe this way. What I’m learning is that we actually breathe too much.
The perfect breathing according to this book is breathing in 5.5 seconds through your nose, and breathing out 5.5 seconds through your nose.
Optimal breathing is fewer inhales to breathe less. Breathing less trains the body to do more with less.
Try this while exercising.
Carbon Dioxide and Weight Loss
Another thing this book taught me and something I hadn’t heard before is that carbon dioxide is a major way you can lose weight. You can breathe your weight off. You can lose much more weight through exhalation than sweating or urination.
The author states you lose weight through exhaled breath. It’s your body’s basic metabolism. The author also states that the lungs are the weight regulating system of the body.
So if you think you have breathing problems you really should correct it. You’ll have a better life.
If you want to dig further into this and hear me talk about breathing and this book, check out our podcast episode on the topic.